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9 Florida State Parks Near Clearwater 

Everyone knows about Clearwater Beach, but did you know there are 9 Florida State Parks you can visit near Clearwater? I’ve rounded up 9 parks within a 1-hour drive and organized them based on types of activity. Check out this list and start planning your trip today! 

Brick road lined with palm trees at Egmont Key State Park

9 Florida State Parks Near Clearwater 

Below are the 9 closest Florida State Parks to Clearwater. Please note that 3 of the parks are islands and require some type of water transportation from land which may make the total travel time over 1 hour.  More information about each park can be found below.

  1. Caladesi Island State Park 
  2. Egmont Key State Park 
  3. Anclote Key Preserve State Park 
  4. Terra Ceia Preserve State Park 
  5. Hillsborough River State Park 
  6. Skyway Fishing Pier State Park 
  7. Ybor City Museum State Park 
  8. Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park 
  9. Honeymoon Island State Park 

Florida State Parks near Clearwater if you want an island adventure  

These three parks require a private boat or ferry to visit. I would recommend planning a day trip to make the most of your visit!  

Caladesi Island State Park 

Located just west of Dunedin, Caladesi Island State Park is a little piece of paradise. There are a few options for how to get to this park!  

  • Private boat 
  • Ferry from Honeymoon Island 
  • Kayak from Honeymoon Island 
  • Walk from North Clearwater Beach 
    • Please note, the island is only accessible during low tide so be sure to check the tide schedule if you plan to walk so you do not get stranded on the island!  
View of the beach walk from Clearwater to Caladesi Island.

Once on the island you can relax on the beach, swim in the ocean, search for seashells, have a picnic lunch, fish in designated areas, or hike the 3.2-mile trail. Regardless of which option you choose you are sure to enjoy this park!  

Boardwalk leading to the beach with palm trees in the distance and a blue sky.

Essential Information Caladesi Island State Park  

  • Address: Offshore Island Dunedin, FL 
  • Hours: 8 AM to sunset  
  • Fee: $6 per boat; $2 per kayaker  
  • Driving distance from Clearwater: 20 minutes 
    • Requires additional time to reach the island  
Me standing by the Caladesi Isalnd State Park entrance sign.

Egmont Key State Park 

Egmont Key State Park is one of my favorite parks in the Tampa Bay area! It is accessible via private boat or ferry. The ferry is run by Hubbard’s Marina and departs from Fort De Soto Boat Ramp. Tickets can be reserved ahead of time online.   

A picture of me smiling on top of a gun battery with the ocean in the background

Once on the island choose from a variety of activities including fishing, hiking, sunbathing, snorkeling, and swimming. The highlights of this park include strolling along the red brick road, walking around the historic gun batteries, exploring the lighthouse grounds, checking out the remnants of the ghost town, and relaxing on the beach!  

Gun battery at Egmont Key State Park.

Please note that the southern portion of the island is a bird refuge managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service which is closed to visitors.  

Essential Information Egmont Key State Park  

  • Address: 4905 34th St. South #5000 St. Petersburg, FL 
  • Hours: 8 AM to sunset 
  • Fee: Free entry  
  • Driving distance from Clearwater: 1 hour 
    • Requires additional time via ferry or private boat to reach the island 
Egmont Key State Park sign

Anclote Key Preserve State Park  

Located three miles west of Tarpon Springs, Anclote Key Preserve State Park is only accessible via private boat or ferry. Popular activities on the island include fishing, swimming, snorkeling, and shelling. There is also the Anclote Key Lighthouse which was built in 1887. The lighthouse tower is only open on a limited schedule.

Essential Information Anclote Key Preserve State Park  

  • Address: Offshore Island Tarpon Springs, FL 
  • Hours: 8 AM to sunset 
  • Fee: Free entry  
  • Driving distance from Clearwater: 40 minutes 
    • Requires additional time via ferry or private boat to reach the island 

Florida State Parks near Clearwater if you enjoy hiking 

There are two parks listed below that are perfect to visit if you’re looking for a hike! 

Terra Ceia Preserve State Park 

Located just off I-275 across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Terra Ceia Preserve State Park is great for hiking! Below are the three trails which can be accessed at the end of Hightower Road. 

  • Pine Flatwoods Loop (orange): 3.1 miles 
  • Salt Flat Spur (white): 3.2 miles 
  • Hammock Loop (blue): 2.7 miles 
Terra Ceia Preserve State Park Trail Map

Other activities include boating, paddling, and fishing. Please note this is a rural preserve and there are no restroom facilities at this park. The kayak launch and boat ramp are located on Bishop Harbor Road. The boat ramp is only accessible for shallow draft vessels.

Essential Information: Terra Ceia Preserve State Park 

  • Address: 130 Terra Ceia Road Terra Ceia, Florida 34250 
    • Hiking trails are located at the end of Hightower Road (search for Terra Ceia Preserve Trail Head in Google maps) 
  • Hours: 8 AM to sundown 
  • Fee: Free 
  • Driving distance from Clearwater: 1 hour 
Myself and my dog walking on the trail

Hillsborough River State Park 

This is one of my favorite parks to go hiking at in the Tampa Bay area! The hiking trails are listed below. My favorite trails at Hillsborough River State Park are the Baynard and River Rapids which can easily be combined to complete in one visit. 

  • Seminole Trail: 3.2-mile loop 
  • Baynard Trail: 1.1-mile loop 
  • River Rapids Trail: 1.2-mile loop 
  • Wetlands Restoration Trail: 1.6 miles (one way) 
  • Fort King Trail: 6.7 miles (one way) 
Dirt trail with greenery canopying around the trail and palms lining it.

A highlight of this park is the two bridges. The suspension bridge provides access to the Baynard and Seminole Trails and you can walk across it. There is also a stationary bridge which you can view, but it has been closed since damage occurred from Hurricane Irma in 2017.  

The steps leading to the suspension bridge.

Other activities include camping, kayaking, and fishing.

Essential Information: Hillsborough River State Park 

  • Address: 15402 US 301 N Thonotosassa, FL 33592 
  • Hours: 8 AM to sunset 
  • Fee: $6 per vehicle  
  • Driving distance from Clearwater: 1 hour 
Hillsborough River State Park entrance sign.

Florida State Parks near Clearwater if you enjoy fishing 

There is one park that immediately comes to mind if you are looking for the best place to go fishing.

Skyway Fishing Pier State Park 

If you enjoy fishing, the world’s longest fishing pier should definitely be on your list to check out. This park is located on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge with entrances for the north and south fishing pier. The fishing pier was constructed from the old Sunshine Skyway Bridge, becoming a state park in 1994.  

Even if you don’t enjoy fishing you can consider visiting this park to view various birds or walk along the pier. There are food and drinks available for purchase at the bait shops.  

Essential Information: Skyway Fishing Pier State Park  

  • Address: 4905 34th St. South #5000 St. Petersburg, FL 33711 
  • Hours: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year 
  • Fee: $4 per vehicle, plus $4 per adult  
  • Driving distance from Clearwater: 1 hour 

Florida State Parks near Clearwater if you love history 

The perfect park for history lovers to explore!

Ybor City Museum State Park 

Ybor City is known as the Cigar Capital of the world and is located minutes from downtown Tampa. If you want to learn more about the history of the city The Ybor City Museum State Park is for you! Activities include an informational video, interpretive exhibits, guided tours of La Casita, and the museum garden.  

Me standing in the gardens looking at the fountain in Ybor City Museum State Park.

Essential Information: Ybor City Museum State Park  

  • Address: 1818 E 9th Avenue Tampa, FL 33605 
  • Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM 
  • Fee: $4 per person 
  • Driving distance from Clearwater: 40 minutes 
Entrance of Ybor City Museum State Park.

Florida State Parks near Clearwater if you enjoy kayaking 

While there are multiple activities that can be enjoyed at this park, my personal preference is to kayak!

Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park 

One of the best ways to experience Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park is on the water. Paddle through mangroves to the salt spring or head through open water towards the Gulf of Mexico! You can bring your own kayak or rentals are available through Salty Dog Kayak Rentals.  Other activities include bicycling, birding, camping, fishing, and hiking.

A yellow kayak in the murky waters on the way to the salt spring.

Essential Information: Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park  

  • Address: 8737 U.S. Highway 19 North Port Richey, FL 34668 (main entrance) 
  • Hours: 8 AM to sunset 
  • Fee: $4 per vehicle  
  • Driving distance from Clearwater: 50 minutes 

Please note, there are 3 entrances to this park. The main entrance listed above includes the kayak/canoe launch, hiking trails, and a picnic area. Additional hiking trails can be found at the Scenic Drive Trail Head entrance and Black Rail Trail Head entrance. Restrooms are only available at the main park entrance.  

Werner Boyce Salt Springs State Park Entrance sign.

Florida State Parks near Clearwater if you like to relax on the beach  

For a relaxing day on the beach, I’ve found the best park for you to visit!

Honeymoon Island State Park  

One of the best beaches in the Tampa Bay area can be found at Honeymoon Island State Park, located in Dunedin, Florida. There are 4 miles of beaches with ample parking. Dogs are allowed only at the designated pet beach.  The 4 beach areas are listed below.

  • Pet Beach 
  • Oasis Beach  
  • Main Beach 
  • North Beach 
The ocean and sand on a sunny day at Honeymoon Island State Park

If the beach isn’t really your style, this park still has something for you! Enjoy paddling, take the ferry to Caladesi Island, visit the nature center, or hike the 2.5 to 3-mile stacked loop trail.

Essential Information: Honeymoon Island State Park  

  • Address: #1 Causeway Blvd. Dunedin, FL 34698 
  • Hours: 8 AM to sunset 
  • Fee: $8 per vehicle  
  • Driving distance from Clearwater: 20 minutes 
Honeymoon Island State Park sign a Florida State Park near Tampa

Summary of Florida State Parks near Clearwater 

There are a variety of activities to choose from when exploring Florida State Parks and there are 9 parks within a 1-hour drive from Clearwater. I have been to most of these parks, but there are a couple on this list I still need to visit. Comment below and tell me which park you want to visit first!  

Looking for more Florida State Parks to visit? 

I didn’t include these parks in this blog post because they are a little over the 1 hour driving distance. However, these parks are still easily accessible from Clearwater.  

The information above was accurate at the time of publishing to the best of the author’s knowledge. Information will be verified and updated periodically. If you are planning to visit, I recommend verifying the most current information with the Florida State Park website.  

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